People who use humour to laugh at themselves are happier, new research finds.
Laughing at oneself is also linked to being more social.
The finding — that laughing at oneself could be psychologically healthy — comes from new research into how people use humour.
Jorge Torres Marín, the Spanish study’s first author, said:
“…a greater tendency to employ self-defeating humour is indicative of high scores in psychological well-being dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability.”
The researchers also found that people who used humour to strengthen their social ties were kinder.
Humour that was self-enhancing also had its role to play.
Self-enhancing humour — especially under trying circumstances — has been linked to happiness, satisfaction with life and hope.
Other types of humour, though, were more sinister.
Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, study co-author, said:
“[the] results suggest that humour, even when presented as benign or well-intentioned, can also represent a strategy for masking negative intentions.
Humour enables individuals with low scores in honesty to build trust, closeness, etc. with other people and thereby use important information in order to manipulate them or obtain advantages in the future.”
Aggressive humour was mainly used by people to express anger.
People who use aggressive humour were found to experience negative feelings, like superiority and hate, in everyday life.
They also found it harder to manage their rage or anger well.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Torres-Marín et al., 2018).